Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fashion on a Budget

Seeing as though I am a college student, I don’t have massive amounts of money to be spending right and left. However, this doesn’t stop me from buying clothes because if it did, I would not be a happy camper. I can afford to buy clothes because I am what some might call a “smart shopper”, which I learned all from my mom. She has taught me that I don’t have to buy all the brand names and high end items, yet I can still look fashionable and on trend. At this very moment I am wearing a classic little black dress that is on trend and fits great, but one thing that you won’t know by looking at it is that it is a $5 dress from Wal-Mart. That’s right, I am wearing clothing from Wal-Mart and actually admitting to it. This is only one trick that I use to keep my closet stocked with trendy clothes, which means that I have many more to share with you.

If you haven’t realized it at this point, I am quite obsessed with fashion magazines. Vogue, InStyle, you name it and I most likely read it. While I do take a lot of tricks and tips from these magazines, I do not take the prices. Just like a little kid when they get the Toys-R-Us Christmas catalogue, I highlight, circle, and note all the things I would like to own. Just a couple days ago I got the Anthropologie catalogue, and before one of my classes started I was highlighting and annotating it just like you would a textbook (I’m sure the people around me thought I was crazy). Just look at the picture! However, I do not go and buy these specific items, but shop around for cheaper versions of them at stores like Forever 21. To me it does not make sense spending quite a bit of money on items that will only be in style for one or two seasons. A pretty penny should only be spent on items that are going to last quite a bit longer than a season, which leads me into my next trick.

While I did just go on about not spending a lot of money on clothes, there are items that I highly advise you splurge on. If you know that you are going to wear an item a lot, why not get a high quality piece so it lasts longer, rather than buying a cheap version that will fall apart after a couple months. I experienced this first hand when I spent $175 on leather Ralph Lauren riding boots this summer, and I do not regret it a single bit. With the amount of wear that I get out of them I can honestly say that they have paid for themselves many times over. I wear my boots at least two times a week if not more, and if I had bought the cheap faux leather version I am quite positive that they would already have fallen apart. Other items that I advise you splurging on are winter jackets (I splurged on one and do not regret it), leather jackets, and timeless pieces that will always be in style. You will save loads of money in the long run if you buy the high quality version of classic items, instead of spending small amounts repeatedly to purchase the same lower quality item.

As I said earlier, buying cheap trendy items is the way to go. So you are probably wondering where you can purchase such items. Well, there are so so so many places you can go and here are a couple of my favorites. Most girls I know love Forever 21, and luckily one of the largest stores in the country opened up right by my house. Not only do they have all the latest clothing trends, but they also have massive amounts of accessories. Why spend $20 on a ring when you can get four rings for the same price at Forever 21? Also, while there sale section is completely disorganized, if you have the patience to search through all the racks you will most likely find something at a cheap price. I found an ugly oatmeal colored sweater with an array of colored polka dots for around $5 in their sale section, and I could not tell you how many people tell me that they want to steal it from me. Target is another great store to find trendy items for cheap prices, and they always have the hottest designers doing collections at reasonable prices, which I can’t help but squeal about. I swear by TJ Maxx, as does my mom and sisters. I have found so many designer items, from purses to dresses, at amazing prices. I have spent countless hours in TJ Maxx and do not regret it a single bit. I even bought a Homecoming dress there and got quite a few complements on it, so obviously there is nothing wrong with shopping there. You may not think of Wal-Mart, Sears, and K-Mart when it comes to clothes, but I have found pieces that you would never know were purchased at one of them. I don’t lie when somebody asks me where I got one of these items, I just laugh and admit to my smart shopping. One other place that you should consider shopping for trendy clothes for cheap are consignment shops. They have high end clothing at cheap prices, and does it really matter that they were last season? I don’t think so!

There are also many simple things you can do to cut down the cost of clothing, while still being fashionable. A trick that I always use, and I mean always, is shopping the sale racks at the end of each season. By doing this you can get some great pieces at really low prices. Some of them you might not be able to wear immediately, but in the long run you saved a lot of money. When shopping at department stores like Macy’s or Dillard’s always look for coupons before shopping. Department stores always have coupons out, and whether it is 15% off or 50% off, you are still saving money.

As I said before, I would consider myself a smart shopper. I am one of those people that get excited when they by a dress that was originally $75 for $20. I think that I because I buy clothing from such a wide range of stores, my wardrobe is unlike any others. So what if I bought a dress at Wal-Mart or bought something that is last season, I am proud of the clothes I own, and I don’t care what people think of my wardrobe. So own where you shop and what you buy, and stop caring what people have to say about it.


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